British gin exports break £600m barrier

13th February, 2019 by Nicola Carruthers

Exports of British gin smashed the £600 million (US$766m) barrier for the first time last year, according to recent figures.

UK gin exports exceeded £600m for the first time in 2018

UK gin exports exceeded £600m for the first time in 2018

The latest statistics from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), released by the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), showed that British exports of the juniper-based spirit were worth £612m (US$788.5m) in 2018 – an increase of 15% year on year.

UK gin exports are now worth more than double the sales in 2010, which hit just over £288m (US$371m). Gin sales overseas are worth 28% more than beer sales.

The largest importer of UK gin is the US, with sales worth £191m (US$246m), up £13m (US$16.7m) on 2017.

Australia doubled its gin spend compared to 2017, with sales reaching £14.4m (US$18.5m) last year. South Africa saw its British gin sales reach £14.5m – a 222% increase on 2017 from £4.5m (US$5.8m).

Switzerland increased by 38% last year to £6.6m (US$8.5m), up from £4.8m (US$6.1m).

The EU is the biggest region for UK gin, which was worth almost £290m (US$373m) in 2018 – an increase of 14% from the previous year.

In 2017, British gin exports reach an all-time high – breaking the £500m (US$644m) barrier to reach £530m (US$683m) – and the WSTA has previously forecast that a new record will be set in 2018.

The WSTA is now calling on the UK government to support British gin exporters. The trade body is also running a series of export missions to showcase British spirits producers.

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: “The global thirst for British gin shows no sign of slowing and there is no doubt that those overseas are drawn to the quality of gin made here in the UK.

“Europe represents a huge market for British gin, therefore it is essential that the UK does not leave the EU without securing a deal which allows frictionless trade.

“It is hugely important that government also secures free trade deals with the rest of the world and we are encouraged by mutual recognition agreements already signed with countries like Australia and Switzerland.

“However, more must be done, and quickly, so that we maintain our position as the world’s largest spirits exporter and further boost the UK economy and provide more jobs.”

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